Baby Massage

February 15th, 2024
Posted in Article, General, Postnatal, Treatment Therapies
Close up,Baby,Foot,Massage,On,The,Bed.

Here, Sarah Boyd from Birth Baby Balance, explains a little about why baby massage is so important. 

In many parts of the world, massaging your baby is an integral part of every day baby care. It is not necessarily something you go to classes to learn, it is something that you learn at your mother’s knee, as it is so deeply embedded in the culture. In the West, it is often seen as a new “fad”, along with baby signing and baby sensory classes, but the roots of baby massage go back many centuries. It is certainly not a new activity!

pexels nataliya vaitkevich 5889968Touch is the first sense that the baby develops in the womb. Once a foetus is aware of touch, they are frequently touching their mother, as the walls of their world are so close around them. As the baby gets bigger, they respond to touch, pushing back when someone touches them on the outside of the bump. Or stopping moving as soon as someone wants to feel them kicking!

And when they are born, touch continues to be a primary method of communication. Most newborn babies want to be held and carried pretty much the whole time, as that is where they feel safest – up till now they have been constantly used to touch and movement, and without it they often cry, as they are frightened or lonely. Sometimes just having a hand placed calmly and lovingly on their tummy, or having their hands and feet held still over their midline, can be all they need to calm down and go to sleep – it makes them feel reassured that they are not alone, and so they feel safe and can relax.

Baby massage teaches you a range of strokes to help calm and regulate your baby. It gives you tools to use if they are upset, or uncomfortable, or are having problems with trapped wind. It gives you a chance to really connect with your baby, to better understand their cues and needs and how you can meet them. Baby massage has been shown to have a positive impact on a baby’s digestive, circulatory, respiratory, immune and nervous systems. It releases stress, aids the production of calming hormones (for both mother and baby), and can help to regulate sleep patterns. It enhances bonding and communication between you and your baby, and can help alleviate colic, teething pain, growing pains, sinus pain, constipation and excess mucous.

But most of all, it is fun!

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There are a variety of different providers of baby massage classes across the UK. I teach the IAIM programme, over 6 weeks. Not only do you learn baby massage strokes, but the course also includes songs and rhymes to accompany the strokes, a series of yoga-inspired stretches to do with your baby, and an opportunity in each session to chat to the other mums over a cuppa. Sharing experiences, hearing how other mums are coping with the challenges of life with a new baby, trading top tips and knowing that everyone in the room really understands what you are going through can make a huge difference when things are tough. And, very often, you will leave the course with a fabulous group of new friends!

You can find Sarah’s profile here

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